Trump 11th Hour Appointee and NSA General Counsel Michael Ellis Resigns (Dreamstime)
By Jim Thomas | Sunday, 18 April 2021 06:07 PM
National Security Agency general counsel Michael Ellis, appointed to the position by former President Trump at the last minute, resigned from his post on Friday after being placed on administrative leave the day after Trump left office, according to The Washington Post.
"I have been on administrative leave for nearly three months without any explanation or updates, and there is no sign that NSA will attempt to solve the issue. I therefore resign my position, effective immediately," Ellis wrote to NSA Director General Paul Nakasone in a letter published Saturday by The Washington Post.
The Washington Post reported that Ellis was shelved in January because he was the subject of a security inquiry regarding his handling of classified information along with being under investigation by the Department of Defense's Office of Inspector General (OIG) into the circumstances surrounding his selection as general counsel.
The last-minute installation of Ellis, a former Republican operative, drew considerable scrutiny because the role of general counsel at the country's largest intelligence agency is a civil service position, not a political role.
Political appointees are generally easier to remove than civil servants by incoming administrations.
Nakasone on Friday told Congress that the inspector general inquiry into the circumstances of Ellis' hire remained open, reported the Hill.
However, Nakasone was "aware in December 2020 that the Department of Defense Inspector General had completed a preliminary review of the process that led to my selection and found no improper political influence," Ellis's letter stated according to the Hill.